"We need men of God again."
The Church at this moment needs men [and women], the right kind of men,
bold men. The talk is that we need revival...
We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of
the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to
the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control
weaker men. The will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their
only compulsion will come from within—or from above.
This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our
pulpits [and Sunday schools, and neighborhoods, and homes] instead of mascots. These free
men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file
of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no
decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for
financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow
themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.
Much that the church—even the evangelical church— is doing
these days she is doing because she is afraid not to. Ministerial associations take up
projects for no higher reason than they are being scared into it. Whatever their
ear–to–the–ground, fear inspired reconnoitering leads them to believe the
world expects them to do they will be doing come next Monday morning with all kinds of
trumped–up zeal and show of godliness. The pressure of public opinion calls these
prophets, not the voice of Jehovah.
The true church has never sounded out public expectations before
launching the crusades. Her leaders heard from God and went ahead wholly independent of
popular support or lack of it. They knew their Lord’s will and did it, and the people
followed them—sometimes in triumph, oftener to insults and public
persecution—and their sufficient reward was the satisfaction of being right in a
Another characteristic of the true prophet has been love. The free man
who has learned to hear God’s voice and dared to obey it has felt the moral burden
that broke the hearts of the Old Testament prophets, crushed the soul of our Lord Jesus
Christ and wrung streams of tears from the eyes of the apostles.
The free man has never been a religious tyrant, nor has he sought to
lord it over God’s heritage. It is fear and lack of self–assurance that has led
men to try to crush others under their feet. These have had some interest to protect, some
position to secure. So they have demanded subjection from their followers as a guarantee
for their own safety. But the free man—never; he has nothing to protect, no ambition
to pursue and no enemy to fear. For that reason he is completely careless of his standing
among men. If they follow him, well and good; if not, he loses nothing he holds dear, but
whether he is accepted or rejected he will go on loving the people with sincere devotion.
And only death can silence his tender intercession for them.
Yes, if evangelical Christianity is to stay alive she must have men
again, the right kind of men. She must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and
she must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff prophets
and martyrs are made of. God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of
Israel in Egypt. And He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way among
And when the deliverers come—reformers, revivalists,
prophets—they will be men of God and men of courage. The will have God on their side
because they will be careful to stay on God’s side. The will be co-workers under
Christ and instruments in the hand of the Holy Ghost. Such men will be filled with the
Holy Spirit indeed, and through their labors He will fill others and send the long delayed